Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among African American women and the second leading cause of cancer deaths and the highest of any other ethic group.
The incidence rate of breast cancer in African American women under the age of 40 is higher than that of Caucasian women.
The breast cancer mortality rate for African American Women is 36% higher than Caucasian women.
Research shows that aggressive tumor characteristics are more common in African American women than Caucasian.
More information about breast cancer is available in the American Cancer Society publication Breast Cancer Facts & Figures, available online at www.cancer.org.
The 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer diagnosed in among African American women was 78%, compared to 90% among Caucasian women.
This difference can be attributed to both later stage at detection and poorer stage-specific survival among African American women.
Studies have documented unequal receipt of prompt, high-quality treatment for African American women compared to Caucasian women. Other studies suggest factors associated with socioeconomic status may influence the biologic behavior of breast cancer.
Poor women with breast cancers are more likely to be diagnosed with estrogen receptor-negative tumors. Poverty likely influences disease pathology and genetic markers of disease through lifelong dietary and reproductive habits.
Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among African American women, surpassed only by lung cancer. Factors that contribute to the higher death rates among African American women include differences in access to and utilization of EARLY DETECTION and treatment and differences in tumor characteristics.